Raising Women’s Voices

Public Plan Disagreements Persist

Posted in Affordability, DC Reform by raisingwomensvoices on March 25, 2009

In testimony given before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on March 24th, insurance industry representatives argued against including a public plan, but said they could phase out the practice of varying premiums based on health status.

insuranceRonald A. Williams, chairman and chief executive officer of Aetna Inc said that with a public plan option, government could act as both “player and referee” and price private practices out of the market.

Karen Ignagni, president and chief executive officer of America’s Health Insurance Plans, also opposes a public plan option, arguing instead for guaranteed issue of coverage and an individual mandate to improve the system, both of which would be impeded by a public plan option that would destabilize the employer-based system.

Along with Scott P. Serota, president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Ignagni said that even if premiums were not based on an individual’s health risk, rating flexibility based on age, geography, family size and benefit design would still be needed to maintain affordability.

Len Nichols, director of the health policy program at the New America Foundation, says that the solution is not to place everyone in a Medicare plan, but to create rules to ensure that the people running the public plan are not the same a the people regulating the market. 

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